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of early Piety. 201
parts of good conduct, and readie to every Serm. good word and work.
3. They who fear God from their youth, especially, if it be with much steadinesse, are useful in the "world many ways. Such men promote the good of society in their several stations. They also adorn, and recommend religion to others. By their means some are brought into a good liking of it's ways: or are induced to consider and examine it's pretensions, till they sind them just and reasonable, Others are consirmed, and they persevere with joy and resolution. It is very likely, that many pious Israelites were animated and encouraged by the example of. Obadiah: though their circumstances were such, that they could not all act with the same opennesse that he did. They were obliged to greater privacie. But yet they did not bow the knee to Baal, or render him any act of homage.
4. They who fear God from their youth have the happinefe of being always prepared for the various events of providence. If they are removed hence, their end is peace, and their reward is sure. If they live, they go on to perform the duties of life: and are
Serm. the best qualisied of any men to bear the IX. troubles and afflictions of this state with a v^v>-' calm and composed mind, and comfortable Ps. cxlii. trust in God. For God is their refuge, and l5xxiii. 2c. their portion in the land of the living. They z6- have none in heaven but him. Nor is there
any upon earth, whom they dejire in comparison of him. And when flesh and heart fail, God is the strength of their heart, and their portion for ever.
What has been now observed mould induce all, whatever is their age of life, to fear the Lord.
They who are in early age have encouragement to give up themselves to God now, without delay, and to fear and serve him henceforward all the days of their life. There is great virtue in so doing. And it will be attended with very desirable advantages. None will discourage them from being early in this design. They who have feared God from their youth, will readily assure them, that it is the wisest thing that • - can can be done. They who are now serious Serm. and religious at length, after trying the ways IX. of sin, will likewise assure them, that if they *"""v"^"' neglect the present opportunity, and defer to come to a full determination, and form effectual resolutions of obedience to all God's commandments; that delay will some time be matter of grief and bitter lamentation.
This discourse then may be considered as an invitation to young persons, to be truly religious without delay: to weigh and consider the things of religion seriously, and to determine accordingly: to remember now Ecc. xiu their creator in the days of their youth, and to serve him constantly with inviolable sidelity.
But it suggests no discouragements to others, who have as yet deferred. It does indeed shew, in some measure, the evil of procrastination. But it does not insinuate, that there is no hope or remedie for those who have long delayed.
They who have feared God from their youth have some distinction. They were early wise, and they have proceeded in Wisdom's paths. But they are not taught to boast, or fay scornfully: They are not, as other men.
They likewise have failings. And do own, that if God were strict to mark iniquity, they could not be justisied in his sight. Their hopes therefore are founded in the mercie of God. They believe, and it is what they would recommend to the consideration of Ps. cxxx. others: That with God there is forgivene/se, 4- that he may be feared and served by such
weak and fallible creatures as we are.
Goodnesse is as certainly a property of the Deity, as any other. If sinful men forsake the evil of their ways, and unfeignedly return to God, they will sind reft for their fouls: for he will have mercie upon them', and will abundantly pardon.
A Future State provable by Reason.
P S A L. lxxxiy. Ii.
For the Lord God is a fun and Jhield, The Lord will give grace and glorie: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
HE Lord God is a fun. He is not only glorious and excellent in himself: but from him issue streams of knowledge and wisdom, joy and comfort. Whatever the sun is to the material world, that God is in the most eminent manner to his people.